Leadership In A Crisis

Great leadership shows itself during times of trial.


“The times have found us”, the memorable phrase by Thomas Paine, is something I often think about. It’s a great phrase, one that says we must rise to the occasion and fight for what we believe in, while also saying we have the courage to meet any challenge. It also says that we cannot put our heads in the sand and ignore our responsibilities to lead with facts, to do our best to meet all challenges, and to be the strength that others need.

Owning a small business comes with many challenges, upsets and even heartbreak. It also comes with its share of joy and triumph through perseverance.

At a time when we are all challenged with CoVid-19, it only makes sense to want to be armed with the facts in order to meet challenges head on.

This is a landmark moment in the history of public health, to be sure, but it’s also in an era when doing business at a distance has never been easier. With people being asked not to go into work and with borders closing to contain the virus, we here at ProFound have taken all precautions to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our clients as safe as possible. We’ve simply pivoted to use more of the modern communications tools we use every day anyway, we’re just using more of it.

For instance, we are doing candidate interviews for the next two weeks via Skype. We are holding new business calls with Uberconference, Skype and Zoom. The disruption to regular life is undeniably with us for the time being, but the disruption to our business isn’t all that noticeable. Our customers across the board are doing the same things, and our business continues unabated.

We are fortunate to have a business that’s not dependent on a physical location, like a store, restaurant, bar, or even an airline. My best wishes go out to all businesses, their employees, and their customers. It’s not easy running a services business that depends on patrons, like the food industry does. And given that most services businesses are smaller businesses, with razor-thin margins, I can feel the anxiety of companies like these who want to get back to business fully. My heart goes out for these business owners, and I hope for a full and swift economic recovery for them. I also ask you to use this time to think differently about your business. In times of challenge comes time of innovation. Perhaps it’s closing the restaurant for patrons to dine in, but offering takeout or a Skip The Dishes-type service.

Every small, medium and large business is bound to the same ecosystem, interdependent in order to operate. Without people, we cannot have a working economy. So, the best thing anyone could do right now is to take care of themselves, abide by best practices, and do what you can to be as positive and safe in this time as possible.

There will be big economic upheavals to come, there’s little doubt, with large industries such as the airline and travel and hotel industries hit very hard. They aren’t, and will not be, the only ones. But there are thousands of organizations just like ours who can both mitigate risk and support each other in this time. We can shift the ways that we do business to a large extent, keep people working and projects going, delivering what we need to, just as we always have. And in so doing we support ourselves, our business interests, and our wider economy. Let’s help each other keep the lights on by supporting each other through this time of trial and uncertainty, knowing that there is a light at the end of this tunnel.

The times have found us. Let’s step into the breach, with courage, good sense, and positivity. Let’s deal with the facts, which will help us deal with uncertainty. And let’s look out for each other, care about what we have and what we’ve built, and use our strength of will to be the best we can be for everyone around us. And now that we have the opportunity to be home more with our families, lets take the time to enjoy family, go back to our roots and care for others.

In business, as I’ve said before in these columns, we need to always put people first, since people are what make a business. In saying this, I mean also that we need to take care of the people we also don’t know as well as our families or our own team members. We can support the ecosystem of businesses by looking for ways to exchange information, goods, and services in slightly different ways, where we can.

If there has been one constant through human history, it’s that there is always a ‘new normal’. Human beings are highly adaptable, we have found ways to do everything that perhaps a previous generation felt was impossible. Sticking together for the good of all is what we can do now, and always. The times have found us. And we have found ourselves strong enough to meet them.

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